Last week I wrote (and spoke) about how the shot of a dragonfly, when compared to a similar picture from seven years prior, was evidence of just how much I have learned in the time between the two. This image, while similar to one that I took a few months ago, isn’t so much an example of what I have learned but how earlier shots can inform later shots. This hummingbird moth is closing in on a white ball of…something? (I’m still not sure what in the world these flower-ish things are, but they must taste good to bees, moths, and other insects.) When I saw the animal flitting from one bulbous protrusion to the next on the shores of Milford Lake, Kansas, I immediately thought of this picture of a similar situation that I took in my very own back yard in April. I knew I didn’t want to re-create the original backyard shot as much as I wanted to use what I learned from it to create something new. I’m not entirely sure it worked, and in the end I think I prefer the original to its more recent counterpart, but the entire process was an exercise in education and personal growth which is what really matters in the end.
What I really wanted to capture in the image you see above is a sense of energy, especially as it relates to light. The original photo from my back yard is evenly lit, which is to say that the entire shot is shrouded in shade. This is great for creating a nice sense of uniformity, but there are other, more creative, ways to use light to elevate an image. That’s what I wanted to do here. The moth you see in this shot was one of several hovering around this patch of lakeside greenery, but I specifically chose to put myself in a position such that I would be more likely to get a picture of one when the sun was behind it. See the transluscent glow on the moth’s wings, the bright colors of its curling proboscis, and the vibrant energy of the white bulb? That’s all due to backlighting, and you won’t find any of this in my photo of a hummingbird moth from April. So in that sense, I consider this image pretty great :)
However, what I didn’t quite nail here was the position of the moth and, as such, the focal point of the composition isn’t quite what I want it to be. The moth is facing slightly away from my camera and, as a result, you can’t see its face or eyes clearly. It’s not a dealbreaker per se, but I do wish I could have gotten this same overall composition but with a better view of the animal’s face. I don’t say this to be self-critical, but just to examine the image and see what I like and don’t like, and then see what I can learn from it.